By Jane Livingston, Board member, Pettes Library

As a kid in small-town Ontario, my library was a big part of my life. As an adult in Knowlton, my library, Pettes Memorial, is equally important.

The library of my youth was strictly about books. Pettes, and many like it, have changed with the times. There are more than just books on shelves. There are e-books, audio books, free wifi, magazines and research materials either in hard copy or through the web. Pettes is fully connected to and current with today’s world.

I volunteer at Pettes once a week. I am surrounded by beloved books (50% English, 50% French) and interesting people. Our library members have a wide range of interests. Some come to sit quietly in the lounge area to read the newspapers provided. Others are reading the latest issues from our comprehensive range of magazines. Book clubs gather at Pettes. Some people work on jigsaw puzzles while others arrive with their electronic devices, making use of our free wi-fi. Many members use the library’s terminals and take advantage of our printing services. Computer access is free; copies are 25 cents apiece. There are young parents looking for books, talking books, music CDs, and movies for their kids. There is one Mom who home schools her little ones. I think there are three kids in the family, but with the chatter and the giggles as they spill through the front door, it seems like an entire classroom full of children. I hope that these kids and others, will have fond and lasting memories of their times at Pettes.

I have indelible memories of my childhood library. The children’s section was in the basement level (just like Pettes). I roamed the stacks searching for The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew (my penchant for mystery started at a young age). With books in hand I would approach the imposing circulation desk with its intimidating and towering mahogany wall. I would clamber up onto the footstool, set my books down and present my cardboard library card. With hushed tones, the librarian would greet me, stamp my card and send me on my way. Fortunately today, the tone in libraries has lightened up. At Pettes, we encourage smiling faces, laughter and chatter.

Your library, meaningful then and meaningful now. Not a member? Sign up. Visit our website at www.pettes.ca or contact Jana Valasek, Executive Director at 450-243-6128.